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OBASAN - Opus "I want to break loose from the heavy identity…I am tired of living between deaths and funerals, weighted with decorum, unable to shout or sing or dance, unable to scream or swear, unable to laugh, unable to breathe out loud." (102). In Joy Kogawa's Obasan. Naomi, a young female of Japanese decent is forced to adapt and grow into the Canadian society. She is faced with great pressures because of the events of WWII and the internment of Japanese Canadians. Her childhood is complicated by the absence of her mother and she is driven to grow up under two separate definitions of womanhood. Guidance is provided by her two aunts, Obasan and Emily. The complication arises due to their contrasting views of life, Japanese and Canadian. Born in Japan, Obasan believes in the more quiet and traditional Japanese lifestyle, based on loving "Silence". Meanwhile, Emily was raised in Canada and attempts are made to teach Naomi to be more outspoken and to form strong moral values.

Due to this Naomi is tossed between the guidance of her two aunts, Obasan and Emily, through their differing forms of communication, lifestyle traits and Nisei and Sansei traditions, as a result she forms her own lifestyle path and discovers her complete identity.

The differing forms of communication by the two aunts play a role in Naomi's lifestyle choice: Obasan with her use of Japanese silence and Emily through her straight forwardness. Obasan lives her life through a shell that traps her thoughts and feelings inside. She expresses her feelings in her actions and with occasional Japanese phrases. This is evident in the following description by Naomi; "I feel that each breath she takes is weighted with her morality. She is the old woman of many Japanese legends,